Getting to the heart of heartburn

Ash is used as a home remedy for heartburn – however, something that could actually bring heartburn relief is fighting obesity. This is according to Dr Anish Sheth, a gastroenterologists and assistant professor of medicine at Yale University, who says people are at higher risk of having heartburn when they are obese.

Maureen Mbhense (37) from Vulamehlo in Nquthu, KwaZulua-Natal, suffers with heartburn. She told OurHealth that a week doesn’t go by without consuming her favourite cold drink Coca-Cola, which she buys four litres of each week, and says she is addicted to.

“Heartburn really bothers me especially after every meal, which I wash down with a glass or two of Coke. I have noticed that heartburn has become part of my life ever since I have gained weight,” said Mbhense, who takes ash as a home remedy.

I have noticed that heartburn has become part of my life ever since I have gained weight.

Mbhense’s father, Buysiwe Mbhense (57), tries to dilute his daughter’s Coke with water but she complains.

“She tells me to stop because I’m wasting a good drink. I dilute it since I know that the drink could cause us health problems at some point. Maureen start drinking Coke when she was pregnant and ever since then she hasn’t stopped. She has it almost every day,” he said.

In his February 2016 budget speech Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks, which will come into effect on 1 April 2017 – and will see a 330ml can of Coca-Cola (which contains about eight teaspoons of sugar) taxed 80 cents.

Mbhense said the sugar tax would reduce her consumption of Coke. “The sugar tax is going to make Coke expensive but I won’t stop completely I think I would still buy it whenever I have a bit of extra money,” she said.

Meanwhile, Dr Sheth stated that in addition to losing excess weight, people could control heartburn by avoiding caffeine, eliminating fatty and acidic foods and drinks, and by stopping smoking.

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